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Zero to 90 MPH: An Agile Mantra for Rapid and Effective Sourcing
Abhishek Shankar SVP, Hi-Tech Industries and GM Enterprise Studio | July 6, 2020
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Three Streamlined Phases from Inquiry to Project Kickoff

If COVID-19 has taught the world anything, it’s that speed and agility are paramount when facing a crisis. At my place of work, HCL Technologies, our COVID-19 experience is a case in point. Seeing the writing on the wall, we began our work from home transformation on January 26, in the early days of the pandemic. By March, 98% of my colleagues were safely working from home, and we’ve seen productivity rise by 16%. Likewise, we helped clients that reached out to us early in the pandemic transition mission-critical initiatives in half the time it took for companies that delayed their requests.

But as Aesop’s hare knows all too well, it’s not all about speed—it’s the combination of speed and agility that wins the race. Companies that rely on speed only, without the benefit of agility, may win the first heat. Agility makes speed sustainable, race after race, no matter what obstacles, like a blown-out tire when rounding a sharp turn, may get in your way.

Agility makes speed sustainable, race after race, no matter what obstacles.

Our experience is reinforced by industry analysts. According to Gartner, enterprises undergoing digital transformation initiatives are changing their approach to infrastructure managed service providers (MSPs). Traditional RFPs lack speed (thus take too long), aren’t agile enough to handle the uncertainty of transformational projects, and don’t easily accommodate collaboration. They’re moving toward agile workshops that leverage competitive dialogues to facilitate solid decision-making. This reduces the cost of missed opportunities, dissatisfied customers and lengthy transformations.

Data indicate that while 35% of infrastructure managed services deals in 2019 were based on agile workshops, that will balloon to more than 90% in 2022. Of course, that is pre-COVID-19 data; 75% of the CEOs in this Fortune survey believe the crisis will force their companies to accelerate technological transformation, so the percentage could rise even further.
Enterprises frequently know the problems that challenge their digital business initiative, but they need assistance in developing solutions. As a result, smart CIOs and other enterprise stakeholders screen MSPs, identify two to three potential partners, and engage the MSPs to conduct a collaborative workshop where the two parties create an innovative, agile solution.

These agile workshops help us jump from the zero moment of truth (ZMOT), a term coined by Google that refers to online research about a product or service before making a purchase, to the second moment of truth (SMOT), when a customer purchases a product and understands its quality as promised by its brand.

That’s why we strongly believe that COVID-19 will accelerate the trend to replace RFPs with agile workshops. Many organizations are fast-tracking their digital sourcing strategy. In the process, they are finding that adjustments they have made due to COVID-19, such as increasing the number of remote workers and finding new ways of doing business with customers, rely on a more secure, compliant infrastructure.

The trend to replace RFPs with agile workshops is accelerating.

After working with many clients who have an extreme focus on moving fast and becoming more agile, we created an agile process for quickly responding to customer needs. “Zero to 90 MPH” engages customers in an agile cycle, from inquiry to project kickoff, in 90 days—often more speedily than that. The process is driven by three guiding principles:

  • Operational Agility: The right people and processes to accelerate contracts
  • Flexibility: The ability to tap into HCL’s large team ecosystem
  • Commitment: The ability to kick off a project within 90 days

Two quick examples of recent successes: In a mere 30 days, we helped a global IT infrastructure and engineering software firm transition 800+ consultants across 32 countries and 90 partners to deliver Professional Services as a Service for roadmapping and Day 0/Day 1 transformation services. And in just 75 days, we helped a global security ISV carve out professional services (and rehire a large global cohort of FTEs and partners) to provide top-end security consulting, residency and implementation services for a global multi-country transition.

The Nitty Gritty of the Process

Once a tech company—or any company seeking a managed services contract—has identified two to three MSPs, the Zero to 90 MPH process entails three distinct phases:

Phase 1: Inquiry to Term Sheet: 14-21 Days

  • HCL and the company conduct a Clean Room Data Exchange to determine the current state of the company’s infrastructure, applications, etc.
  • Partner SOAP (Strategy on a Page): HCL and the company identify factual objectives and metrics and create a succinct strategy statement. For more info on creating a one-page strategy, click here.
  • Term Sheet—HCL and the company develop a bullet-point document outlining the material terms and conditions of a business agreement. The term sheet guides legal counsel in preparing a proposed final agreement. It then guides, but is not necessarily binding, as the signatories negotiate, usually with legal counsel, the final terms of the agreement.

Phase 2: Term Sheet to Contract: Daily Scrum Meetings for 4-6 Weeks

  • Workstream 1: Contract due diligence.
  • Workstream 2: Include commercial terms (contract start date, length, services included, fee structure, etc.) in the contract.
  • Workstream 3: Create a detailed plan for services delivery and what the customer should expect. The plan should include a strategy for enabling the transition plan’s new processes and an organizational change plan for enabling the people who will use the new tools and processes, including resource planning, resource management and training.

Phase 3: Contract to Transition Kick Off: 2 Weeks

  • Once the contract is signed, HCL finalizes the transition plan and executes the plan.

That works out to anywhere between eight weeks (a mere 56 days) to 11 weeks (77 days). Even when you add time for the customer to qualify the two to three MSPs, a company working this process with us will come in well under 90 days from inquiry to kickoff. That’s agile digital transformation that exceeds the speed limit.

I think you’ll find that the agility and speed of this process, along with HCL’s key cultural value, developing a relationship with the customer beyond the contract, will give your company an advantage, whether or not we’re in a time of crisis. If you’re interested in learning more about this agile process that leads to speed, I invite you to contact us.